o ... to the Growing New Farmers Incubator program, which recently received a $5,500 grant from the Community Foundation for South Central New York.

The program, which Community Foundation Executive Director Diane L. Brown called "very innovative," is designed to help aspiring farmers with some of the infrastructure of the agriculture business, including access to farmland, equipment and storage facilities for food.

The program echoes Farm Catskills' mission of protecting and promoting agriculture and "the farming way of life," which includes sustainability and regional self-sufficiency.

As the nonprofit organization's grant application stated, "The major barrier to new farmers getting started is the high cost of land and equipment."

By granting more people entry into the business of farming, Farm Catskills is helping ensure that this region has a viable future as a food-producing community.

We wish Farm Catskills, and the farmers it "incubates," the best of luck.

o ... to Marie Lusins, of Oneonta, who received the Daughters of the American Revolution's Community Service Award for 2008.

Lusins was recognized for a variety of local, regional and international service projects.

Her work to establish the countywide Community Connections food bank earned her a previous Community Service Award in 2000, and she also founded the SHARE Otsego program, which serves the hungry in Otsego and Delaware counties.

In addition, she was recognized for nearly 20 years of service projects through the Rotary organization.

It's hard to overstate the impact a person such as Lusins can make on her community. Though she compared herself to Don Quixote in her acceptance speech, it's clear her efforts are anything but futile.

Her tireless actions on behalf of others are an inspiration to all.

o ... to Don Decker, of Mount Vision, who drove the horses and wagon that brought Santa and Mrs. Claus into Oneonta on Nov. 22.

Decker has been providing the service, surely a labor of love, each year for a decade.

Decker, who owns numerous work horses of his own and is known for his traditional work days during the summer, hitched up a team owned by his son, Dennis, and his wife, Stephanie, for the recent parade.

The annual Santa parade was sponsored this year by Main Street Oneonta.

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